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January 26, 2015 1

Peached Tortilla

By in Asian, Austin, Portland

5520 Burnet Rd
Ste 100
Austin, TX 78756
http://www.thepeachedtortilla.com/

The food scene on Burnet Rd is flourishing! I just blogged about Noble Sandwiches. Not too far down and across the street, Peached Tortilla opened a brick and mortar. Peached Tortilla is one of my favorite trailers in Austin so I was excited to see yet another great trailer graduate to B&M.

Peached Tortilla
Crispy Umami Chicken Wings; fish sauce vinaigrette, herbs, shallots; $9

These savory chicken wings remind me so much of Pok Pok’s Fish Sauce Fried Chicken Wings. It didn’t come as a surprise when I read later that these chicken wings were inspired by Pok Pok (a must eat if you ever eat in Portland!) Don’t be shy with these wings. Really dig in and don’t forget to lick your fingers.

Peached Tortilla
Kimchi Arancini Balls; wasabi & sriracha aioli, roasted nori (contains shellfish); $7

Have I ever told you that for my 30th birthday, I had a Balls Party? Every guest was required to bring a food item that was in the shape of balls. I like balls. These would have been a hit at my party.

Peached Tortilla
Lush Pork Belly Bowl; five spice pork belly, house kimchi (contains shellfish), pickled daikon carrots, 45 minute egg; $13

I was writing this blog post a couple of weeks ago while on a blogging date with Michelle of Foodie Is The New Forty and she kept talking about how the Pork Belly Bowl is one of her favorite dishes in Austin right now. I don’t know why I didn’t connect the dots that I in fact ate and loved the Pork Belly Bowl! Here is my evidence! How it slipped my mind is beyond me because it was my favorite dish here! And I agree with Michelle’s assessment. I’ll always order this bowl when I come to Peached.

Peached TortillaBacon Jam Fries; green onions, sharp cheddar, fried egg, chili aioli, $8

I know bacon’s glory days are purported to be long gone and some diners have begged for chefs to quit it with the bacon already. I’m not one of those diners. I’ll never give up on bacon. Or fries for that matter. So these Bacon Jam Fries are my jam.

Not pictured but also tasted was the Southern Fun (braised brisket, kale, bean sprouts, wide rice noodles; $13). I decided that when going to Peached Tortilla, it’s best to bring a few dining partners because how else are you supposed to eat your favorites? I have an obsession with noodles and have a hard time resisting them on most menus. Which means I’ll have to order this as well as my favorite entrée the Lush Pork Belly Bowl every time I’m here. Which means I should bring friends if I ever want to eat more of Peached’s menu. Glutton problems.

Peached Tortilla
Singapore Fling ,coconut tapioca, palm sugar syrup, grilled Asian pear, lime zest; $7
In the back, a peek of the Nutella Banana Spring Rolls, $7.

For dessert we tried the Singapore Fling and the Nutella Banana Spring Rolls. I liked the Singapore Fling. It wasn’t too sweet which is what a lot of Asian desserts are like. It almost has an airy quality to it and I love its fragrance. My eating companions preferred the Nutella Banana Spring Rolls as it was a bit more heavy handed on the sugar because of the Nutella.

All in all, Peached Tortilla had a strong debut as a brick & mortar and I’m already looking forward to returning!

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January 23, 2015 2

Valentine Gift Idea: Mini Cupcakes from Baked by Melissa

By in American, Desserts, New York

Baked By Melissa

My love for Valentine’s Day has always made me kind of a freak. Even while with boyfriends who ignored this holiday and when I had no significant other, I always made sure to celebrate. Many of my cherished Valentine memories were with long time friends and family members. One year my brother and I went to Build-A-Bear for Valentine’s Day and I still sleep with the teddy bear he made me. Another year, I hosted a Valentine Day card making party and then my friends and I delivered them to a local nursing home. This year, I am looking forward to hosting the next Brunch Club Potluck and obnoxiously decorating my apartment with all the hearts.

This is all to say that when Baked by Melissa offered me samples of their mini Valentine’s Day cupcakes, they had me at “Valentine”. I looked up their company to see that they are a popular mini cupcake bakery with locations in New York and lucky for the rest of us they ship and deliver! I received my box of mini Valentine cupcakes and was impressed by their packaging. The cupcakes remained in tact and it comes with an ice pack. You stick them in the freezer upon arrival and pull them out thirty minutes before eating.

Baked By Melissa

The Valentine Collection include three Valentine themed cupcakes. White Chocolate Pretzel, Red Velvet Pretzel, and Peanut Butter Pretzel. They are so dainty that you don’t feel guilty gobbling all three. The pretzel balls give the moist cake a nice salty and crunchy note. I’m quite picky about my cupcakes. I find most icings too rich for me and I expect to scoop off the icing of most of the cupcakes I encounter. I’m happy to share I did no such thing to these cupcakes. I enjoyed every crumb and lick. I’ve been told that they also offer special packaging for the holiday, tie-dye pink ribbon for gift boxes containing the Valentine’s Day Collection.

So add these cupcakes to your gift brainstorm for Love Day!

Baked by Melissa

Aside from receiving these darling cupcakes free of charge, I was not compensated for this post and I mean every word. Photos taken and edited by me as always unless otherwise stated.

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January 21, 2015 3

January Brunch Club

By in Cooking, Entertaining, Girl Links World

Brunch Club January

I love that I have girlfriends who enjoy entertaining and having a beautifully set table. One of my favorite highlights from 2014 was hosting a brunch potluck with Anita, MJ, and Ashley. So when Anita suggested we do this once a month, I was all in! MJ hosted the first one and it was the perfect Sunday afternoon spent instagramming without guilt, giggling about boys and dating, and eating delectable food. Anita made orange cranberry (minus the cranberry) breakfast buns from Smitten Kitchen, MJ made butter coffee and sous-vide eggs, Ashley baked cheesy potatoes, and I made mini quiches (recipe inspiration from Real Simple).

Brunch Club January

Brunch Club January

Brunch Club January

Brunch Club January

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January 19, 2015 2

Eat Dinner at Noble Sandwiches Co.

By in American, Austin

4805 Burnet Rd
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 666-5124
http://noblesandwiches.com

Here’s some fun news! Noble Sandwiches is now open for dinner service. I had the pleasure of being invited to a media preview this past weekend. I enjoyed everything I tried but especially the oxtail and grits with added egg and the mac and cheese with added pork belly and brussel sprouts. I like to joke that adding brussel sprouts to my pork is how I make things healthy.

Noble Sandwiches
Red Chile Braised Oxtail Grits (with added egg)

Noble Sandwiches
Mac and Gouda with added pork belly and brussel sprouts

Noble Sandwiches
Seared Creole Catfish with Crayfish Sauce, Collard Greens and Green Pepper Cornbread

Noble Sandwiches
Smoked Quail with Grilled Napa Cabbage, Mushroom Red Eye Gravy and a Biscuit

Not photographed but also debuting on the dinner menu are swine burgers, venison burgers, red wine braised lamb, and smoked all natural beef hotdogs with pimento.

They are celebrating the inception of their dinner service with a contest! Eat dinner at Noble Sandwich Co. during the month of January, tweet about it or post on Instagram, and use the hashtag #EatDinneratNoble and get entered to win dinner for you and a friend!

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January 6, 2015 12

Sichuan River

By in Asian, Austin

spread

4534 W Gate Blvd
Ste 105
Austin, TX 78745

I recently moved from North Austin to South Austin to cut down my working commute from 2 hours a day to a whopping 30 minutes a day with traffic. I read somewhere that an easy happiness boost is to cut down your work commute. So far I find this to be true. I’ve gained back an hour and a half of my life every working day!

There are a few things I still mourn from being in North Austin. I miss having a casual drop-by-whenever-we-want relationship with my North Austin girlfriends. I miss the condo I was renting from my friend and how safe it felt to walk in the dead of the night with Bob the Dog. And finally, I miss the Asian food scene in North Austin. If there’s an area in Austin that ranks supreme for authentic Asian food and grocery stores, it is North Austin.

I was driving around my new neighborhood recently when I realized I was less than 10 minutes away from the newly open Sichuan River and was jolted with happy memories of my induction into an informal Asian Supper Club with some of my favorite food friends. I somehow weaseled myself into this charming circle of people who meet occasionally over Asian food and invited myself to their last outing, which happened to be in South Austin at Sichuan River.

This was a lovely gem to open in South Austin. Located in an unassuming strip mall, Sichuan River makes up for its lack of ambience and decor with authentic, tasty and inexpensive food. We ordered garlic eggplant, mapo tofu, green beans, egg foo young, sizzling Sichuan lamb and Dan Dan noodles. The bill came to be less than 15 dollars split between six people with everyone stuffed to the brim and we still had some leftovers! Everything we shared family style was eaten merrily.

The popular favorites among our dining group were the really spicy sizzling Sichuan lamb and the egg foo young. Not surprising with my obsession for noodles, I could easily order the Dan Dan noodles every time I come to Sichuan River. I suspect I’ll be coming here more frequently now that it’s only a hop and a skip away!

sizzling

dandan

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January 2, 2015 0

Houston: Siphon Coffee

By in American, Coffee shops, Houston

Siphon Coffee

701 W Alabama St
Houston, TX 77006
(281) 974-4426
http://siphoncoffeehouston.com/

Siphon Coffee is a hip spot for you to check out next time you’re looking for cool coffee shops in Houston. I was out gallivanting in Houston and chasing murals with Thomas when we stopped here for a coffee break. It was the first time I had even heard of halogen siphon brewed coffee. The cups of coffee here are priced higher than my average cups of coffee but it is high quality coffee and the shop interior is quite cozy and spacious. The light from the halogen siphons is hypnotizing. I didn’t eat here but word is their baked goods and paninis are good.

Siphon

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December 9, 2014 4

Noodles in New York City

By in Asian, New York

Have you ever experienced a bruised heart while on vacation? I don’t recommend it, but if you must tend to a heart wound while traveling, New York City is a good city. Though not known for its friendliness, New York City and all its nooks and crannies can be a warm cocoon to those in need to cry. There’s even a tumblr rating places in New York based on how accommodating it is to crying.

Last month I visited New York City with a group of friends and you see where this is going right? I had an unexpected falling out with someone I was traveling with and became a New York City cliche. That girl crying on subways by herself.

I can laugh about it now which means I can finally write about it. Really, New York City caters to the broken hearted. I myself medicate with bowls of noodles, spending time with good friends, and browsing book stores. I got all three of these needs met during my disastrous trip. There is so many of the nation’s top rated ramen places in the city. Also, part of the city’s magic is it’s one of those cities where I will always have a friend or two living there. It’s the revolving door of my social circle. When one good friend moves away, another moves in. Fortunately for me one of my best friends was in the city and he accompanied me two of the three ramen places on my list and also took me to the famed book store, The Strand. Had it been any other city, I don’t think I would have gotten this lucky!

momofuku
Momofuku Noodle Bar, 171 1st Ave

I mentioned my New Yorker friend took me to two of the three ramen places. Two of the guys I traveled with accompanied me to the third. This bowl of ramen is from Momofuku. I had the original ramen with pork belly and poached egg. It soothed my achey soul. The star of this meal though was the amazing pork belly buns. Ask for them even if i you don’t see it on the menu. Sean and Nils and I were so ecstatic when we were seated after a measly ten minute wait. The night before I waited over two hours for Ippudo and they had waited over two hours for Totto. The trick is to get there right when it opens, at 5:30pm.

When you go, be a dear and buy some of their amazing cookies to take back to your friends at home! And I mean it about the pork belly buns!

tottoTotto Ramen 51, 464 W 51st St

Literally after leaving Momofuku, I left Sean and Nils and got on the subway to meet Nam at Totto. I had expected a long wait there but we got right in and I proceeded to have a second ramen dinner. Totto is Japanese for “chicken” so this is chicken based broth and it was delicious. I got my ramen with avocado. Not pictured but also quite tasty was the fried chicken.

ippudoIppudo, 65 4th Ave

Excuse the grainy cell phone photo, this was my first bowl of therapeutic noodles and I’m surprised I even snapped a photo. Nam and I waited over two hours which we mitigated by visiting The Strand and browsing books. It’s a few minutes away so I recommend killing some of that wait time by heading to the book store. I ordered the Karaka Men which is the “Tonkotsu” (pork) soup noodles. Nam also introduced me to Tako Wasabi, raw baby octopus in a wasabi sauce. I love it so much I now look for it every time I’m in a Japanese restaurant.

So that’s three comforting bowls of noodles in two days. Not pictured or mentioned was an entire pan of macaroni cheese from Freemans. Friends, noodles, and books, they soothe me.

I want to thank Blacklane for providing my friends and me complimentary luxurious rides to and from the airport for this memorable and delicious trip to New York. The drivers are professional, the bottled water was cold and refreshing, and it was such a welcomed sight to see our driver holding up a sign for us when we arrived back into the Austin Airport. I highly recommend them and they offer their services all over the world!

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November 7, 2014 1

Nothing is Permanent: Players Closing November 23, 2014

By in American, Austin

Players

300 W Martin Luther King Dr
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-9299

I’m moving from North Austin to South Austin tomorrow. When I moved into this current apartment last year, I was getting over a six year relationship. Now a year later, I’m getting over a new boy.

Nothing is permanent.

I’ve been in Austin since 2001 and I’ve moved over a dozen times. I am reminded that nothing is permanent just from moving so often. But one thing that has remained a fixture and source of comfort through all my years in Austin is a dive burger joint located on campus. It was recently announced that Players will be closing November 23, 2014 after serving the community since 1981.

Nothing is permanent.

Open 24 hours and within walking distance of my first place of residence in Austin, Players has been the place I would meet old friends to share countless milkshakes and french fries. No one went to Players just for the food. We went for the friendships and the late night conversations. Before last week, the last time I was at Players was with a handful of high school friends visiting after we all graduated from college. One such friend at this reunion dinner passed away last year.

Nothing is permanent.

I went to eat here with Anita during our lunch break last week to pay final respects to an Austin icon. We each had pensive moments as we reflected on the people we were with the last time we were there.

Nothing is permanent. Because of this, I try very hard to remain grateful for borrowed time and shared meals.

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October 20, 2014 5

Houston: Sweet Macarons from Sweet with my Sweet Momma

By in Desserts, French, Houston, New York, Paris

Both my mom and dad have worked really hard my entire life. I know that’s something we all say about our parents, however my parents worked holidays and weekends. They owned a convenience store that kept them tethered from 7 am to 10 pm every day, weekends and holidays included. It explains how I was never a big fan of Christmas. They have taken a total of 4 days off the last 20 years and it was to attend the high school and college graduations of my brother and me. So I was excited when they finally retired this year. I can finally hang out with them outside of the store and our home! I’ve dreamed of this for so long!

A couple of weekends ago, I was in Houston for Geeky Hooker’s wedding and was preparing to drive back to Austin on a Sunday. I’ve been inviting my parents out every time I’ve come to Houston after they’ve retired but they usually resist me. I have also been planning a return trip to New York City with a few friends for Halloween weekend. One of the food stops I planned on making was to go to Ladurée to eat their macarons (I experienced them in Paris and learned they have storefronts in NYC). Since planning this, I’ve been craving macarons and luckily, I have a favorite spot for macarons in Houston, which is much more accessible than NYC or Paris. I offered to take my mom with me to make a macaron and coffee run. Much to my surprise, she actually accepted my invitation!

One of my biggest joys in life is introducing people to new experiences. My dear mom has never killed time at a coffee shop or eaten macarons. She’s never lounged in public or enjoyed leisurely people watching. I bought some of my favorite flavors from Sweet. Green tea, honey and lavender, earl grey, and coconut. I also bought a couple of new to me flavors, pumpkin and chai tea. We parked ourselves on a bench and nibbled on the dainty pastries and sipped on drinks. I spent hundreds of hours through the years at coffee spots with my friends and they’re some of my happiest moments in life. To have this with my mom for the first time felt like a dream. She giggled and confessed, “I never want to leave!”

That’s when we decided. Every time I’m in Houston, the day I drive back to Austin, I’ll spend a couple of hours with my mom sitting in public and gazing at the world together. Macarons optional.

Sweet Mom

Sweet Macarons
Macarons, $2 each

You can see photos of my very first visit to Sweet back in 2011 here.

Sweet
801 Town & Country Blvd
Ste A120
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 647-9338
http://sweethouston.com

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October 14, 2014 2

Santorini, Greece: Volcano Blue

By in European, Greece, Mediterranean

Volcano Blue
Fira, Santorini, Greece
http://www.volcanoblue.gr

Remember when I told you we met some Canadians in Mykonos, Greece? They had just arrived from Santorini and we were on our way, so they pointed us to Volcano Blue in Fira, Santorini. We stumbled on the restaurant late one night and walked in and made a sunset reservation for the next day.

We started with mussels and then all ordered more mussels for our entrees. I ate my weight in pasta and mussels while I was in Greece. There were a number of decidedly average and bad meals that won’t be mentioned on the blog. This one though was one of my favorite meals. The view couldn’t be topped and the fresh and delectable mussels was moderately priced. The servers were kind and quirky. We caught our server discreetly making a duck noise. When I asked if I heard him correctly, he asked if we wanted to hear what noise rabbits make when they eat.

For dessert, we joked about ordering more mussels but we had the baklava and a chocolate soufflé. The soufflé wasn’t the flaky soufflés I’m used to and was more a dense chocolate cake cooked in a ramekin. The baklava wasn’t the best we’ve had in Greece either. If I could do it again, I’d skip dessert and order more mussels!

The sun was long gone by the time we ordered dessert so I don’t have any photos to share. Instead, please accept another shot of the view.

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